A Week by Week Guide to the 3 Stages of Cannabis Flowering

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A Week by Week Guide to the 3 Stages of Cannabis Flowering

How Does Biochar Help Clones Grow

How Does Biochar Help Clones Grow

Excited to see your home grown cannabis plants in the bloom? What happens to your particular weed strain during flowering? Looking for an in-depth week by week guide on how to guide your marijuana plants through the 3 stages of flowering?

Here are a few simpler, more practical tips and tricks to get guaranteed great harvest every time.

Whether you are going to grow marijuana for recreational or medical use, you’d like to maximize your harvest. Just take care of the flowering phase. Slip-up during the cannabis bloom phase can significantly affect the size and quality of the harvest.

Cannabis Plant

Cannabis Plant

Growing weed is a complicated, challenging, and demanding task. So, make sure to go through a comprehensive flowering phase guide before flipping lights on your next batch of sensitive cannabis plants.

During the vegetative stage, which is the first stage of cannabis growth, you get the kind of growth that you would expect. In many ways, weed grows, well, like a weed!

However, when you get to the flowering stage, many different factors come into play. Your plants often become more sensitive to externalities during this stage as well. One of the tricky things about the flowering stage is that there isn’t a whole lot of room for error.

Making the most out of the flowering stage means understanding the various cycles within the stage.

How to Induce Flowering in Cannabis Clones?

Cannabis Flowering Bud

Cannabis Flowering Bud

Have growing weed indoors? A light cycle with longer hours or uninterrupted darkness can induce a flowering stage in your marijuana clones. More precisely, when you switch the light cycle to 10 to 12 hours of darkness, your plants will enter the flowering stage.

Under longer periods of no light, your plants will stop growing and instead divert their energies into producing buds and later flowers.

If your clones are growing outdoors, flowering will normally occur when the days get shorter around the end of summer.

In most marijuana strains, the flowering stages are about 7 to 9 weeks. Some sativa strains require even longer for their buds to mature.

What are the 3 Stages of Cannabis Flowering?

Stage 1 (Week 1 to 4): Early Flowering Stage

Your cannabis clone will keep stretching, nearly doubling its height.

Stage 2 (Week 4 to 8): Mid-Flowering Stage

Flower buds bulk up with new stigmas appearing. There is continuous increase in trichomes.

Stage 3 (After 8 Weeks: Late Flowering Stage

Buds start ripening with their potency and aroma reaching the peak.

First 5 Weeks of Marijuana Blooming Stage (Early Flowering Stages)

When the blooming stage begins, there are no abrupt changes in your plants’ growth. However, during the first 2 to 3 weeks of flowering, several strains undergo a considerable growth stretch. You must know about these changes to ensure proper feeding and sufficient space for the plants to grow.

During indoor cannabis growth, the transition cycle is the first portion of the flowering stage. During this time, you will want to create a 12/12 light cycle, giving your plants 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day.

During this time, your cannabis plant will think that winter is coming, as the days will seem shorter. You can expect your female plants to sprout white pistils during the transition period, though they won’t start growing buds until the next stage.

By week 3-4, the mad stretching of your plants will slow down, though they will continue growing upward. It is during this time you will begin seeing buds pop up, rather than just hairs. You will need to keep a close eye on your garden during budlet formation, as your plants will become a bit pickier regarding nutrients and environmental factors.

Be aware of yellowing leaves or leaf loss. However, it is normal for a plant to lose a few leaves during this stage, especially if they aren’t getting enough light. If your plant is yellowing or losing leaves rapidly, it could be a light deficiency problem. During the 3-4 week period, your plants should be lush and green.

1st Week (Transition Stage)

The very first week of the blooming phase marks the transition of the indoor or outdoor weed plants from vegetative phase to budding. Feeling the arrival of winter – budding season – marijuana clones show rapid growth, some even doubling in height during this time.

Characterized by fast growth, the early flowering phase is also known as the stretch phase. Your plant will grow lots of new leaves at the top of the main colas. With more green stuff (leaves and stems), she will gain strength and sturdiness.

Don’[t abruptly change the nutrient schedule, and keep providing them with growing nutrients for at least 1 week after the onset of flowering.

Next thing you need to be careful about is to provide your budding plants with low stress training (LST). Just try to create an even canopy by pending the stems down and away from the center. It will ensure more efficient use of grow lights and a better yield.

2nd Week (Sexing Phase – Growth of Pistils and Pollen Sacs)

Cannabis Plant Pollen Sacs

Cannabis Plant Pollen Sacs

On entering their second week of flowering, female weed plants will start growing white, wispy white hair-like structures, called pistils, at the points where big fan leaves meet the main stem.

These pistils will grow to become buds.

On the other hand, male plants will grow small pollen sacs. It makes it easier for you to sex your plants (in this sexing phase) and separate males from females. If you don’t separate them, males will pollinate females to produce seeds, which is something you may not want to happen.

When it comes to food, supply flowering nutrients to your plants to help them maximize their yield potential.

3rd Week (Real Buds Development Phase)

In this phase of flowering, stretching starts slowing down but, by this time, cannabis plants have grown 50% bigger than they were 3 weeks back.

Pistils have grown big enough to look like real buds. However, the smell won’t be too pungent yet, as there will be fewer resin glands and trichomes on the marijuana plants.

As your plants are spending more energy on growing flowers, keep providing them with the recommended dosages of flowering nutrients.

In case of potential deficiencies or nutrient burn (overfeeding), you’ll notice discolored or yellowed leaves or complete loss of leaves.

4th Week (Bud Enlargement)

Trimming Cannabis Buds

Trimming Cannabis Buds

Stretching will stop and buds will continue becoming bigger and fatter each day. More and larger buds will cause the production of more resin glands and trichomes, making the odor more noticeable and pungent.

During this stage, expect your buds to gain some substance. At this point, the stretch is nearly over. You won’t have to pay as much attention to your plant. However, if you notice your plant sagging because the buds are too heavy, you might consider trying to find ways to hold them up.

5th Week (Full Flowering Mode)

The 5th week of the flowering stage marks the full flowering mode. At this point, the odor will also become more intensive, requiring a good ventilation system.

Near-harvest signs will start appearing, such as pistils turning darker and trichomes becoming milky white.

Week 6 to 8 (Mid- & Late Flowering Stages)

At this point, your plant will stop making new stems and leaves. All of its energy will go to growing buds for you to harvest. You may see the leaves yellowing at this point, as the nutrients are going to the buds. However, your plant should still be mostly green from bottom to top during this stage.

After this stage, it is time to harvest the plant you’ve invested so much of your time into!

By the 8th week of flowering, some cannabis strains are ready to be harvested, while others take longer.

Here’s what you need to do during the late flowering stage, right before harvest.

Flush your Marijuana Plant: Stop giving nutrients and provide them with only plain pH-balanced water. With salts and minerals flushing out, you’ll get better, more pure-tasting buds.

Check for Signs of Harvest: Regularly check the color of your cannabis plants’ trichomes using a small microscope or a jeweler’s loupe. An amber color with an opaque clarity indicates that buds have maximum THC content, so they are ready for harvest.


What to do in the cannabis flowering stage?

When your cannabis plant is in the flowering stage, do the following:

  • Remove lower vegetation and trim fan leaves.
  • Properly follow a nutrition schedule.
  • Sex your plants and separate males from females.
  • Provide the right wavelengths of light (between 580–700 nm)
  • Closely monitor temperature
  • Keep humidity level at 45%

What does week 1 of flowering look like?

Week 1 of flowering is marked by an increase in size and height of the plant and emergence of new leaves at the top of the main colas.

Should I trim fan leaves during flowering?

Yes, you should trim fan leaves that are impeding airflow and overshadowing buds, when your cannabis plant is in the early flowering stage (week 1 to 3). Mid- and late-flowering stages are no-trim zones, as your plant is diverting energies for bud production.

How do you know when cannabis is in the flowering stage?

A surefire sign that your cannabis plant is in the flowering stage is that it is getting fatter with the rapid growth of buds. Another sign is that odor will become more intensive and pungent.

Need More Help?

Have questions regarding week by week changes and needs of your cannabis grow during the flowering stage? Or want to buy high-quality marijuana clones to grow in your home? Just get in touch here at Big Daddy Clones! We are a phone call away at  877-262-6192.